Horror on the Lens: The Phantom of the Opera (dir by Rupert Julian)


Today’s horror movie on the Shattered Lens is both a classic of silent era and one of the most influential horror films ever made.  It’s one that I previously shared in 2013 and 2o15 but it’s such a classic that I feel that it is worth sharing a second time.  Add to that, the original video that I embedded has been taken off of YouTube.

First released in 1925, The Phantom of the Opera is today best known for both Lon Chaney’s theatrical but empathetic performance as the Phantom and the iconic scene where Mary Philbin unmasks him. However, the film is also a perfect example of early screen spectacle. The Phantom of the Opera was released during that period of time, between Birth of the Nation and the introduction of sound, when audiences expected films to provide a visual feast and Phantom of the Opera certainly accomplishes that. Indeed, after watching this film and reading Gaston Leroux’s original novel, it’s obvious that the musical was inspired more by the opulence of this film than by the book.

This film is also historically significant in that it was one of the first films to be massively reworked as the result of a poor test screening. The film’s ending was originally faithful to the end of the novel. However, audiences demanded something a little more dramatic and that’s what they got.

Music Video of the Day: Intergalactic by Beastie Boys (1998, dir. Adam Yauch)

I don’t have a lot to say about this music video. It’s the Beastie Boys having fun with Japanese monster movies just like they did with Danger: Diabolik (1968) for the Body Movin’ music video. They even filmed parts of it in Japan. It was directed by Adam Yauch under the pseudonym Nathaniel Hornblower. What I mostly have to say about this is the interesting copyright/version issues that seem to be at work here.

You may have noticed that video above is not official. I’m pretty sure you can find any other Beastie Boys music video on YouTube, but not this one. Well, not since sometime after September 14th, 2009 as you can see where EMI once had it posted. You can find the song posted twice as part of this new YouTube music thing they have been doing.

You’ll hear that both of them are missing something that is in the music video. It is also missing from my copy that I obtained from iTunes a few years ago. According to Wikipedia, it was on the album. This song originally began with a sample of Stravinsky’s ballet Rite of Spring. I guess they must have lost the rights, or didn’t think it was worth it. How much you wanna bet it was after the Men at Work fiasco over the flute riff in Down Under in 2009?

Strangely, the video is over on VEVO with a different piece of classical music. You can also hear this version below thanks to Dailymotion. If you are running an ad blocker then follow this link because Dailymotion has decided to try and be clever by only letting the audio through if their ad is blocked.

The Wikipedia article on Rite of Spring makes it look like it’s very well-known, but is a nightmare of a piece when it comes to copyright and different versions of it.

Songfacts sorta comes to my rescue here. They say it opens with a sample from Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky that was edited out of the radio version. From what I can tell, the version I posted at the start samples the beginning of Night on Bald Mountain.

However, the version I linked to that is on VEVO and embedded from Dailymotion does sample from Rite of Spring as you can hear below.

According to Songfacts and Wikipedia, they also incorporated Les Baxter’s version of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude C-sharp Minor” and “Love is Blue” by The Jazz Crusaders. I’ve embedded the first one and a different version of the second one below.

I couldn’t pick out those in the song. I also don’t know for sure what was on the original album cause I don’t own a hard copy. Wikipedia also seems to indicate that there were two different versions of the music video to begin with, but doesn’t shine any light on the online posting situation from what I can see.

It’s always an adventure when I sit down to write one of these posts. Enjoy!